"By Right of War": The Discipline and Practice of International Law in Imperial Russia, 1868-1917


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


This project addresses the emergence and consolidation of the law of war from 1868 to 1917 and analyzes the unexpectedly important role of the Russian Empire in this process. The intellectual lineage for the law of war is very old, but it was only from the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth century that the law of war as we know it today, such as the criteria for distinguishing “legal combatants” from “illegal combatants,” crystallized. By examining how and why the Russian Empire pressed for the codification of the laws of war, and then measuring the extent to which the Russian military observed them in three case studies of military occupation, I hope to address the core problem of how and to what degree intellectual concepts come to shape state policy and even military conduct.